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Viewership and Advertising Insights for the Ninth Democratic Debate

For the ninth Democratic debate, six candidates took the stage in Las Vegas: Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. They answered questions from NBC's Lester Holt, NBC News political director Chuck Todd, NBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson, Noticias Telemundo senior correspondent Vanessa Hauc and Jon Ralston, editor of The Nevada Independent.

According to Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 12 million smart TVs, viewership increased over the course of the first hour, peaking around 9:50-9:53 p.m. ET. This was when Senator Klobuchar was defending herself about not being able to name the president of Mexico during a recent Telemundo interview. She sparred with Buttigieg over the subject before Senator Warren jumped in to defend Klobuchar, “I understand that she forgot a name.” And finally, right before the commercial break, former Vice President Biden got a word in, and cited his extensive experience in Latin America.

Inscape also provided a look at where people were tuning in from last night: hotspots of household viewership included the West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL; Palm Springs, CA; Bend, OR; and Ft. Myers-Naples, FL DMAs. (On the heatmap below, the darker the color, the more households were tuning in.)

We also took a look at advertising insights from iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. There were over 155.4 million TV ad impressions over the course of the debate, which was simulcast on NBC and MSNBC. The most-seen brands included QuickBooks, Walmart, Verizon and Viking Cruises (NBC makes the top five list because of the network promos that were aired).

Given the limited commercial time, there were only 31 ad airings, and, not counting network promos, only four spots were aired more than once: QuickBooks ran two spots that each aired twice: “Happy Business: Karate Kid” and “Karate Kid: Live Bookkeeping,” Viking Cruises’ “Travel & Leisure: World’s Best” (two airings) and Walmart’s “United Towns” (two airings).

Notably, three of these spots had high iSpot Attention Indices*: “Karate Kid: Live Bookkeeping” had an Attention Index of 179, meaning it received 79% fewer interruptions than average, “Travel & Leisure: World’s Best” had an Index of 125 (25% fewer interruptions) and “United Towns” had an Index of 124 (24% fewer interruptions). These were also the top three spots by TV ad impressions.

*The iSpot Attention Index represents the attention of a specific creative or program placement vs the average in its respective industry. The average is represented by a score of 100, and the total index range is from 0 through 200. For example, an attention index of 125 means that there are 25% fewer interrupted ad plays compared to the average. Interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV.